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WARNING: Vaping products contain Nicotine, a highly addictive chemical - Health Canada
WARNING: Vaping products contain Nicotine, a highly addictive chemical - Health Canada

The Beginner’s Guide to Vaping

Author

Christopher Fournier

Date

May 6, 2022

Woman sitting on concrete stairs vaping

Summary:

  • Different vape styles include Mouth to Lung (MTL), Direct to Lung (DTL), and Restricted Direct to Lung (RDL).
  • Vape devices are made up of an atomizer (usually made up of a coil and wick), a battery, a charge connector (except in some disposables), and e-liquid.
  • Different types of e-liquids include freebase and nic salt. E-liquids also have different VG to PG ratios, which can affect cloud production and other factors.
  • Different types of vape devices include vape pens, pod systems, box mods, and disposables.
  • U Vape carries a wide variety of different vape devices, e-liquids, and other accessories.

So, you’ve decided to pick up vaping and you’re looking for advice on where to start. Vape culture has a ton of different terms and technologies to understand, and some people find it a little confusing at first.

But don’t worry—once you’re familiar with the lingo and know the right questions to ask when picking out products, you’ll be hitting it out of the park in no time (or hitting it in the park, more likely).

At U Vape, we sell tons of a high-quality vaping products, and we’re always happy to share info on how to use them. Below, you’ll find our guide to getting started with vaping—from a breakdown of different vaping styles to a description of common systems and suggested products for beginners.

Different Vaping Styles Explained

Different devices are intended for different vaping styles—so you’ll want to figure out yours before you buy a vape. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) Vaping

MTL vaping involves drawing vapour into the mouth first and then inhaling it into the lungs—similar to how you might smoke a traditional cigarette.

Characteristics:

  • Tight draw, similar to a cigarette.
  • Often best for higher nicotine e-liquids.
  • Produces less vapour than other styles.
  • A natural choice if you’ve just moved from smoking to vaping.

Direct-to-Lung (DTL) Vaping

DTL vaping involves taking a deep draw and inhaling vapour directly into the lungs.

Characteristics:

  • Airier draw with less resistance.
  • Often used with lower nicotine e-liquids and higher VG ratios.
  • Produces more vapour and requires more power.
  • Often preferred by more experienced vape users.

Restricted Direct-to-Lung (RDL)

RDL vaping is a hybrid style that offers a balance between MTL and DTL. It involves a slightly restricted inhale directly into the lungs.

Characteristics:

  • Draw is less tight than MTL but more restricted than DTL.
  • Works best with medium nicotine e-liquids and balanced VG/PG ratios.
  • Provides a satisfying throat hit with moderate cloud production.
  • A great choice if you want more flavour than MTL but find DTL too intense.

Anatomy of a Vape System

There are several different types of vape devices (we’ll get to that soon)—but they all have a few common parts. Here are the essentials:

Atomizer

The part of your device that transforms the e-liquid into vapour so you can inhale it through the mouthpiece. Usually, this is a compartment that houses a coil wrapped around a wick.

Coils

Coils are made from metal and heated by a charge from the battery in the device. When heated, the coil causes the e-liquid saturating the wick to evaporate, turning it from liquid into vapour. Find replacement coils for your device here.

Wicks

Wicks are normally made from cotton. They draw e-liquid from the cartridge in your device so it can be heated by the coils and vapourized.

Battery

Your vape’s battery sends current through the coil to heat it up and vapourize the e-liquid, saturating the wick.

Charge Connector

A charge connector is built into the bottom of most vape devices so that the battery can be replenished. Most newer vape devices charge via USB-C fast charging ports and cables.

E-Liquid

Finally, all vape devices use e-liquid, which is like the “fuel” for your device. E-liquid comes in a wide variety of different flavours—from fruits to various tobaccos and cool menthol varieties.

Explore our e-liquid collection here.

Generic bottles of e-liquid on white background

Different Types of E-Liquids

E-liquids, also known as vape juice, come in various types and formulations to suit different vaping preferences and devices. The two main categories of e-liquids are freebase nicotine e-liquids and nicotine salt (nic salt) e-liquids.

Freebase Nicotine E-Liquids

The most common type of e-liquid, containing pure nicotine in its freebase form.

Characteristics:

  • Available in a wide range of nicotine strengths, typically from 0mg to 12mg.
  • Provides a stronger throat hit, especially at higher nicotine levels.
  • Suitable for both MTL and DTL vaping, depending on the device and coil resistance.
  • Works well with box mods and higher-wattage devices.
  • Best for users who want a more pronounced throat hit and traditional experience.

Explore our freebase e-liquid options.

Nicotine Salt (Nic Salt) E-Liquids

E-liquids that use nicotine salts (a form of nicotine found in tobacco leaves) combined with benzoic or citric acid.

Characteristics:

  • Smoother throat hit even at higher nicotine strengths, typically ranging from 12mg to 20mg (we also offer Bold 50, which mimics the throat hit of higher concentrations while staying at 20mg/ml).
  • Nicotine absorbs faster into the bloodstream, providing more immediate satisfaction.
  • Best used with lower-wattage, high-resistance devices like pod systems.
  • Ideal for transitioning smokers and those who need higher nicotine levels without the harsh throat hit.
Explore our freebase e-liquid options.

VG vs. PG in E-Liquid

Propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG) are the two main ingredients in e-liquid, each contributing unique properties.

  • PG is thinner and provides a stronger throat hit, carrying flavours well but producing less vapour.
  • VG is thicker, offering a smoother inhale and creating denser vapor clouds, though it slightly mutes the flavour.

Typically, higher PG ratios enhance throat hit and flavour intensity, while higher VG ratios increase vapour production and provide a smoother draw.

Different Types of Vape Devices

Now that you have a general idea of how vaping works, it’s time to look at some different types of vape devices. Here are some of the most popular types:

STLTH Type C vape pen

Vape Pens

These are slim, cylindrical devices that offer a simple and direct experience for users.

Characteristics:

  • Portable and easy to use.
  • Most of these have an integrated battery and refillable tank or pod (many newer vape pens are also pod systems)
  • Typically suitable for MTL and DTL vaping, depending on the coil used.
  • Ideal for beginners and those looking for a simple vaping experience.

Recommended Devices:

UWell Crown X pod system vape device

Pod Systems

Some of our most popular devices. These compact, lightweight vapes use replaceable or refillable pods instead of traditional tanks.

Pod systems with replaceable pods are called closed pod systems, whereas pod systems with refillable pods are called open pod systems.

Characteristics:

  • Highly portable and discreet.
  • Can be draw-activated or button-activated
  • Advanced versions offer adjustable airflow and wattage.
  • Can be used for MTL, DTL, or RDL depending on the device.
  • Perfect for those seeking convenience and simplicity.

Recommended Devices:

Geekvape Aegis Legend 2 box mod vape device

Box Mods

Larger, box-shaped devices with advanced features and settings. These are considered more complex than pod systems and are generally aimed at experienced vaping enthusiasts.

Characteristics:

  • Higher power output and adjustable settings (wattage, temperature control).
  • Usually require separate batteries and a tank or atomizer.
  • Suitable for experienced vapers seeking customization and performance.
  • Often used for DTL vaping with sub-ohm tanks for large vapour production.
  • Best for users who enjoy tinkering with settings and want maximum vapour and flavour.

Recommended Devices:

Flip 2 disposable vape device

Disposable Devices

Single-use devices that come pre-filled with e-liquid and a built-in battery.

Characteristics:

  • Ready to use out of the box, no charging or refilling needed.
  • Compact and convenient for on-the-go use.
  • Can often be recycled after the e-liquid or battery is depleted.
  • Some versions come with rechargeable batteries to ensure they last until the e-liquid is gone.
  • Available in various flavours and nicotine strengths.
  • Best for casual users and those who want a hassle-free vaping option.

Recommended Devices:

Ready to Start Vaping?

Hopefully the info we’ve provided above gives you a good idea of where and how to start your vaping journey. Need extra information on vaping or any of the products we sell? Get in touch and speak to someone on our team who will be happy to tell you more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between MTL and DTL vaping?

MTL vaping is generally considered to be closer to the experience of smoking traditional tobacco products, owing to the reduced airflow, while DTL offers direct inhales with larger vapor clouds and more intense flavours.

What VG/PG ratio should I choose for my e-liquid?

Generally, you’ll want to aim for higher VG levels when using a DTL vape style—which means lower resistance and higher power.

How are vape pens different from pod systems?

Vape pens have a built-in compartment for e-liquid and a replaceable atomizer coil. Pod systems, on the other hand, use separate modules (pods) that contain the e-liquid and atomizer.

Are vape mods suitable for beginners?

Typically, vape mods are not recommended for beginners due to their size, cost, and advanced features.

Can I switch between MTL and DTL vaping on a single device?

Some devices have variable wattage and multiple coil sizes, allowing configuration for either MTL or DTL vaping.

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